Local Authority News
Highland Council must make significant savings and change the way it delivers services to ensure it can live within its financial means. A report by the Accounts Commission, Scotland's local authority watchdog, says in recent years the council has had a poor record of delivering on savings.
Highland councillors will be asked a the meeting on 29th January 2020 of the newly created Housing and Property committee to agree to increase council house rents by 3% for 2021. This would result in an increase in the average weekly council house rent from £75.38 to £77.64 (£2.26 per week).
Storm Brendan has taken its toll on roads and infrastructure across the Highlands. Localised flooding, wind and ice has caused damage to roads, paths, car parks and walls in numerous areas including Applecross, Lochaber and Caithness and Sutherland.
The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) has launched a campaign to persuade the Finance Secretary Derek Mackay MSP to invest in Scotland's councils before it is too late. COSLA has produced a briefing document Invest in Essential Services which clearly shows the reduction to Local Government funding since 2013/14 and how the flexibility councils have to spend their budget has been eroded by the Scottish Government.
Local authorities are to be given new powers to regulate short-term lets where they decide this is in the interests of local communities. Housing Minister Kevin Stewart announced measures in the Scottish Parliament to provide local authorities with the ability to implement a licensing scheme for short-term lets from spring 2021.
Big-hearted Highland Council staff and members have dug deep into their pockets at an already expensive time of year to help two important charities in the region. Staff at Highland Council headquarters have been fundraising for the Highland Hospice through a charity raffle, coffee morning and staff pantomime.
Highland Council will be testing the market by contacting prospective contractors (scheduled to be sent out 6th January 2020) to give notice that a procurement for the Corran ferry service may be coming forward. A questionnaire will seek the views of suppliers and potential suppliers of ferry services to the Council.
The Highland Council notifies its service users and customers of its opening hours and service arrangements over the festive period. The Highland Council Service Centre will close at 4pm on 24 December 2019.
The Highland Council is reminding householders and businesses to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible over the festive period to prevent unnecessary waste. Christmas is often a time of excess waste, particularly when it comes to food.
A FUNDING package worth in excess of £650,000 is in place to help in the regeneration of Wick town centre. Wick and East Caithness councillors Raymond Bremner and Nicola Sinclair revealed the details at meeting of key stakeholders on Monday night.
The largest employer in the Highlands, has achieved Living Wage accreditation. Highland Council which employs just over 10,270 staff across the Highland area also applies the living wage rate to apprentices.
Public Sector Employment Statistics for Scotland, released by Scotland's Chief Statistician, show there were 561,500 people employed in the public sector in Scotland in September 2019. As of September 2019, public sector employment accounted for 21.5% of total employment in Scotland and private sector employment accounted for 78.5%.
Audit Scotland today (17 December 2019) has published its report on Scottish Councils funding highlighting the problems of ever decreasing budgets. Despite the last few years of redesign and cuts more is necessary unless Scottish Government increases funding.
From the 3rd February 2020, The Highland Council will be introducing changes at Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC). These changes will be introduced in two phases with phase one focussing on vehicle restrictions which will commence on 3rd February 2020.
The number of Highland Council's strategic committees will increase whilst the number of committee members on each will reduce. This is part of the initiatives to improve performance an save money.
Members have approved a proposal to substantially increase the payment to foster carers at the meeting of Highland Council today, Monday 9 December 2019. The new payment proposal recognises the valuable role of foster carers in providing a home and care for the most vulnerable children within their Highland community.
Highland councillors today approved the findings of a public consultation supporting the introduction of a Highland Transient Visitor Levy and committed to further work to develop an optimal scheme for Highland. The results of more than 6600 responses gathered through online and face-to-face surveys, alongside a pre-consultation with the tourism industry and written submissions received from representatives from the tourism industry and local communities were considered by Members.
Highland council members today (9 December 2019) wholeheartedly gave their support to a report to Council on tackling gender-based violence. Highland Council has been working closely with trade union colleagues and Close the Gap to create a zero-tolerance culture towards gender-based violence.
Voters in the three Highland constituencies for the UK Parliamentary general election of: Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross; Ross, Skye and Lochaber; and Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey are being reminded by Returning Officer Donna Manson that their vote matters. On Thursday 12 December voting begins with all Highland polling stations opening their doors at 7am and remaining open for voters until 10pm.
A question from Councillor Ben Thomson to Highland Council meeting next week. To the Chair of the Corporate Resources Committee "What reassurance can the Council provide that it is applying discretion where appropriate to the imposition of the 200% Council Tax rate applicable to empty homes? i.e.